Cross River state governor, Sir Ben Ayade Wednesday received the Report of the Peace, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation Committee on the warring communities of Ebom/Ebijaghara and Ediba/Usumutong in Abi local government area of the state with a pledge to bring lasting peace to the war torn communities through massive infrastructural development.
The committee which was inaugurated by the governor in May had former Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ndoma Egba as Chairman.
Receiving the Report at the Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Calabar, Governor Ayade praised the committee for turning in its Report in a recording time.
“Let it be on record that this is the first time a government inaugurated committee will work within the time limits.
“I never doubted the capacity of Senator Ndoma-Egba. I am very sure that when I set up this committee with him as Chairman I was convinced not just because he is a senator or a Senior Advocate of Nigeria but his personal commitment to every responsibility that he set his hands on” , the governor said.
Ayade announced the extention of the tenure of the committee and saddled it with the new task of fashioning out the method of government intervention in the troubled communities.
“I have listened to you very clearly. I think the fundamental issue being raised here is the issue of infrastructure…We will sit down and look at the provision of land, decide on social housing structure. The commencement of the detailed design of the road network and all of that has to be worked out.
“And because this committee has done so very well and because you have worked within the time limit , I want to also extend the tenure and provide a new terms of reference for this same team. Firstly, to provide me a concept design by hiring the relevant consultant to give me the design. Secondly, to provide for me a social housing master plan for the entire Ebijaghara in the first instance. Thirdly, whether water supply is needed and fourthly to provide us a general detail of the infrastructure under discourse particularly in terms of providing me the physical design that I can on the basis of that document initiate either deploy the construction and fabrication academy of Cross River to commence this project or by way of a sub contract”.
Earlier, Senator Ndoma Egba recalled that the governor had stated while inaugurating the committee that “it was in response from the Almighty God because the amount of blood shed has reached an unacceptable limit and level of destruction had become cataclysmic.”
According to him, the governor was right because, “the committee visited the scenes of crises and while we did not see signs of blood again arising from the passage of time, we actually saw scenes of devastation and ruins, especially in the areas hitherto occupied by the Ebijaghara community and Usumutong.”
The former Senate leader disclosed that the Committee’s recommendations if implemented, will heal wounds and bring lasting peace.
He noted that the warring communities which are under the Bahumuno nation are crises fatigued and now yearn for sustainable peace and have on their own initiated and signed peace accord even becore the committe’s intervention.
Highlights of the committee’s recommendations include urgent, massive infrastructural intervention in the area, including the construction of about 39-kilometre road linking the warring communities and collection of data of the youths in the area.
The committee also called for government’s recognition of the Bahumuno Peace and Development Union and Bahumuno Youth council, describing them as critical stakeholders in peace building in the Bahumuno nation.
The Committee’s Report is in two volumes: The recommendations and memoranda received.